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Love takes Meakes to the country to chase league dream

The students at Scone High School may refer to her as Miss Meakes but behind the scenes, they know Yasmin is more than a casual teacher living a country dream in the Hunter. 

Meakes' journey in the professional environment started six hours away, in Canberra, where she moved to live with former Knights and Raiders hooker Adam Clydsdale, her partner of five years.

It was Josh Papalii's wife, Sepa, who got the talented touch footballer into a more physical game – 15-a-side rugby, in the nation's capital.

"She just used to watch me play touch and say, 'girl, you're really aggressive, you should be playing a contact sport, come and play rugby with me," Meakes told NRL.com.

"So I ended up just going for it. I know Adam was playing league but there's a lot of variety with sport in Canberra and a lot of girls play rugby down there.

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"I started playing rugby league as well but it just wasn't as big in Canberra so I kept pursuing."

Meakes enjoyed a rapid rise from her maiden rugby appearance to earn a full-time rugby sevens contract in the space of 12 months.

However, Clydsdale's decision to knock back a contract extension with the Raiders in the same year and retire for business purposes saw the couple live apart for two years as Meakes began to travel the world.

 
 
 
 
 
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"It was a really weird time, he stopped playing and I got into the sevens program a week later so we had a few decisions to make with commitments," Meakes said.

"Being on the full-time program we were based in Sydney so we spent some time apart but I've since moved to Scone where Adam is originally from and am enjoying life there."

The couple announced their engagement last year to coincide with Meakes moving to Scone, but she quickly learned there was only one predominant code on offer in the region and it wasn't rugby union.

"All about rugby league," Meakes laughed.

"So it was a big change there and I knew, especially this year, I wanted to play in a team.

"I actually rang Kylie Hilder, who I've known a long time and she said to come and play on the Central Coast for the Roosters, and now I'm with the Roosters in the NRLW. 

"Kylie and Jamie Feeney have been great in understanding the background I've come from so they put a lot of context into it when explaining things to me."

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Meakes travels more than three hours between Scone and Sydney for Roosters training sessions and is one of many cross-code stars who could make their way back to the NRLW once the Tokyo Olympics are completed.

"We have sat around watching the NRLW in years gone by and said imagine if we could play in that too so it's quite surreal how it's panned out," Meakes said. 

"I was really excited when Charlotte [Caslick] came across as we're very close friends, and hopefully it won't be for the last time. It's been a really good opportunity and experience."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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